Keep Calm and Craft
In the wake of Israel’s war with Hamas, some Hadassah members are turning to crafts to occupy their anxious minds and busy their hands. Indeed, the phenomenon of crafting as a means of expression amid trauma or other mental health crises—sometimes called craftivism or trauma-informed crafting—has long been known to ease anxiety, depression and stress, according to Dr. Michelle Elisburg, a pediatrician and president of Hadassah Louisville, who is herself a longtime crocheter and scrapbooker.
“The repetitive movement of needles and the soft touch of yarn releases serotonin in the brain that lifts the mood and provides relief from any kind of physical pain,” Dr. Elisburg said, citing yarn art as one example. “As per a study conducted by Harvard Medical School’s Mind and Body Institute in 2007, knitting regularly also lowers your heart rate by 11 beats per minute and promotes a sense of calmness.”
Since the terror attacks of October 7, Dr. Elisburg has scrapbooked the war and, as part of an initiative coordinated by Tablet magazine, crocheted Guatemalan worry dolls that will be sent to children in Israel. The custom is for youngsters to whisper their fears to their doll before bed in the hopes of sleeping soundly.